After a couple of days which have really been testing my journey to find health and harmony, I realised that there are certain things that I could stop doing to bring a little more calm into my life. I did wonder whether I should name this post: ‘5 things I’m going to start doing…’ to give it more of a positive slant, but after what I can only describe as an utterly horrendous trip to the supermarket with my 4-year-old yesterday (over tired, emotional and hungry – and that was just me!), I realised that there really are things I can stop doing to make my life a little easier. You’ve probably guessed the first one! So from now on, I will:
1. Stop taking my children to the supermarket
Against my better judgement I took my tired 4-year-old food shopping with me yesterday. I knew we were on borrowed time when she cried because Mr Darcy was in the boot of the car and I was told I was ‘the meanest mummy in the world’ because I didn’t want to stop the car in a queue of traffic to get him for her when we were only minutes from the store (I should note that Mr Darcy is her toy dog and unfortunately not the Colin Firth version).
Shopping with children can be challenging at the best of times. When they are tired and grumpy it can be unbearable! I spent the whole shopping trip cursing myself for going against my better judgement. The final straw was when my very determined daughter decided that she’d really had enough of shopping and sat in the middle of the main aisle so that all the shoppers and trolleys had to navigate their way around her. To be honest, I felt like joining her. I’d had enough too!
As we drove home, I thought more about my daughter’s reaction to our shopping trip. I realised that shopping must be incredibly dull and somewhat frustrating for a 4-year-old. I’ve tried frantically running past the biscuit aisle, scooting past the toys and trying to dodge the chocolate bars near the till. But when you’re 4 and faced with all those temptations, and a mum who keeps saying ‘no’, of course it’s going to be hard. So I’ve decided I’m not going to put either of us through it anymore. Supermarket trips from now on will be a child-free activity for me.
2. Stop pressing the snooze button
I have never been a morning person. No matter what time I go to bed, I hate to be woken by my alarm clock. Every evening I set my alarm for 6.30am trying to convince myself that tomorrow will be the morning that I get up straight away and don’t hit the snooze button. I have failed that mission most mornings over the last few weeks.
If you’ve read my previous post ‘Morning harmony (or lack of!)’, then you’ll have an idea of how chaotic some mornings in our house can be (and I’m sure we’re not alone). It really is the most stressful part of the day for me so I do myself no favours by constantly hitting snooze. I know that if I got up half an hour earlier my whole morning would run a lot more smoothly. If my son decides to stand in his pants for 15 minutes rather than get dressed, then hey, that’s fine – we’d have time to spare! Instead, lately, I find myself rushing around in the mornings, my stress levels rising as the minutes go on. Well, not any more. Tomorrow I’m determined to have a calmer morning and get up earlier!
3. Stop de-prioritising relaxation.
When the days go so fast and there’s so much to do, it’s really easy to slip out of the routine of finding a little bit of ‘me time’ each day. Even just 10 minutes a day of relaxation can make a huge difference to managing stress and my mental well-being. Lately, I’ve been guilty of putting this relaxation time to the bottom of the pile. Whether it’s 10 minutes of mindfulness, reading a good book or enjoying a soothing bath, I’m going to make time for my own little bit of harmony and relaxation each day.
Life can be chaotic and busy, but maybe sometimes we just need to focus on those things that cause us stress and evaluate whether there are small changes we can make to reduce and manage that stress. I’d love to hear your tips on how you relax and manage stress and how you fit this into your busy day.